Despite Netanyahu’s Disapproval, Top Israeli Cabinet Official Meets with U.S. Leaders in Washington

Netanyahu (Credits: Politico)

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz is embarking on a significant diplomatic mission to Washington this week, despite opposition from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Gantz, who chairs Israel’s National Unity Party and is a political rival of Netanyahu, held meetings with top leaders in the U.S. capital, starting with Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan at the White House.

Later, he was scheduled to meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill, followed by a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

Netanyahu (Credits:

The White House issued a summary of Harris’s meeting with Gantz, emphasizing U.S. support for Israel’s right to self-defense against ongoing threats from Hamas.

Harris also expressed deep concern about humanitarian conditions in Gaza, particularly referencing a recent tragedy involving an aid convoy in northern Gaza.

However, Gantz’s visit to Washington is at odds with Netanyahu’s wishes. The Israeli prime minister instructed Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and the Israeli Embassy to boycott Gantz’s meetings with Harris and Sullivan, breaking from the customary protocol of ambassadors attending such gatherings.

Gantz’s visit coincides with a shift in the Biden administration’s rhetoric towards Israel, as the death toll in Gaza has climbed to over 30,000 since the conflict began nearly five months ago.

The U.S. conducted its first food aid airdrops into Gaza over the weekend, and Harris made forceful remarks on Sunday, calling for an “immediate” six-week cease-fire.

The Biden administration has been advocating for this six-week cease-fire to facilitate the release of additional hostages. While Israel reportedly endorsed a framework for the cease-fire and hostage release, Israeli media reported that the government boycotted Sunday’s talks after Hamas rejected demands for a comprehensive list of living hostages.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.